A member of Rhyl’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew has shared his thoughts on the recent controversy surrounding the charity’s work helping migrants at sea.

Rescue footage posted on the RNLI’s official Twitter account on Wednesday prompted criticism from some quarters, with former UKIP leader Nigel Farage labelling them a ‘taxi service for illegal immigration’ after nearly 600 migrants were intercepted while trying to cross the English Channel last weekend.

They also earned widespread praise, raising more than £200,000 in donations on Thursday, roughly 30 times its usual daily average, while the RNLI website saw a 270 per cent increase in people viewing volunteering opportunities on the same day.

Callum Robinson, deputy press officer and full-time mechanic at Rhyl Lifeboat Station, believes there is a ‘bigger picture’ that critics are missing, and that the organisation will always help anyone in trouble at sea, irrespective of their background or origin.

He said: “If you speak to any sailors or people who work on boats, that’s what you do; you help people at sea. It’s not just an RNLI thing.

“The RNLI was founded nearly 200 years ago, and the man who founded it (William Hillary) said in the charter that it’s to help anybody and everybody in trouble at sea.

“No matter where they’re from and who they are, if they’re in danger, we’ll go and help them.”

Callum followed his father into the RNLI, volunteering for 12 years before becoming one of two full-time members of Rhyl’s 35-man crew.

And during a summer which he says has proved ‘exceptionally busy’ for him and his colleagues, he added that they have fortunately not received the same level of verbal or online abuse as other RNLI workers lately.

“We’ve had the odd comment on social media about it, which is just the usual kind of stuff that you get, but we’ve been fairly lucky,” he said.

“But I’ve got friends on the crews on the east coast, and I do know a few people who have had abuse hurled at them.

“Judging by most of the comments on social media, I think the vast majority of people support what the RNLI are doing. They see that it’s not just what certain people are saying. There’s a bigger picture.”

To find out more about Rhyl’s RNLI team, visit their website at www.rhyl-lifeboat.co.uk. You can also make a donation to their station at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rhylrnli21.